No one would describe Kanye West as a diplomatic master of social etiquette, but why is Kanye such an unrelenting, uncompromising asshole? Here's one take from Aaron James, whose book, Assholes: A Theory, deconstructs the set of characteristics that typically define the orifice. The book, previewed in Salon, also focuses heavily on Fox News personalities and hits shelves October 30th.
It is instructive to compare West to asshole artists such as Pablo Picasso or Ernest Hemingway or Miles Davis. None were mistaken about their greatness. All were wrong about what their greatness entitled them to by way of special treatment from others. Here it is harder to be understanding. It is indeed desirable for a society to afford its great artists special opportunities for creative production for the good of all. But there are limits, and many true geniuses do manage well enough to abide by them, perhaps by nurturing a grounding sense of gratitude for being endowed with special creative privilege. Those who don’t are pure asshole. They take full credit for their achievements and expect further benefits in return, despite the fact that their success would never have happened without society’s gift of creative opportunity. (Artists who must fend for food or fight against an invading army tend not to get a lot of art done.)
Things could easily have gone differently and the artist would never have succeeded. Gauguin, for example, might have never made it to Tahiti if the boat from France had encountered bad weather or mechanical troubles, much as many great talents fail simply because they are ahead of their time. We put up with the artist’s delusion that his work is only to his credit, that it is we who are chiefly in his debt, because we find our world better with his artworks in it. Without that, however, the asshole artist becomes thoroughly repugnant. Imagine a failed artist who is not a genius, who continually demands further creative privilege, perhaps at a significant cost to society, and who cannot be moved by or even grasp gentle advice that he should consider working at Starbucks, where people are actually served. This guy, we want to say, is an asshole in spades."
NotCoolManNotCool Monday, October 29, 2012
No. This whole thing is just another reason to hate on another man. What has he done recently thats SOOO bad that it deserves the world to hate him? In fact, what has he done ever to make the world hate him? He took a mic, expressed his opinion and people act like he created the holocaust. Kanye West is a successful artist and he should be proud of his work. Using Kanye as a scapegoat for your story since you clearly arent capable of reporting anything serious just shows how much of an asshole you are. Going back to the Taylor Swift thing, he even apologized, made a song about it for christs sakes! He got death threats! Its just amazing how ignorant but yet powerful the media really is. All you guys do is write an article on whatever the first retarded thing that comes to your mind is and then pay google to get it to come up first on the search results. You guys are disgraceful.
Sam Monday, October 29, 2012
That was a hell of a reply mate. These people are really a disgrace !!!! This article don't even make some sense though Lol. Ohh media !!!!
Wale Amber Monday, October 29, 2012
You said it all. The US media is really ignorant but yet powerful.
Yoko Monday, October 29, 2012
Kanye is an asshole. It's ok to say it. Doesn't mean he's not great. But he is repeatedly an asshole who makes great art.
Visitor Monday, October 29, 2012
This could have been an extremely interesting book.
But it's plain silly to search for the unified theory of Hemingway, Picasso and -- Donald Trump.
Wes Davenport Monday, October 29, 2012
The message here is about two things:
1) Being artistically gifted doesn't entitle anyone to treat others like shit.
2) Art isn't successful because of the efforts of a single person. Other people have to come into the picture to elevate art. It could be as simple as a listener or as complex as a major label machine.
I don't know Kanye West. He's never treated me unfairly, so I can't speak to that. Yes, he is known for having a massive ego. But just by looking at his long list of collaborators, I'm sure he knows he's successful in part due to the efforts of others.
Visitor Monday, October 29, 2012
"2) Art isn't successful because of the efforts of a single person."
This is only true in the most literal sense; e.g. a brilliant artist obviously has to be born by someone and sell his art to somebody.
But the most brilliant and often bad boys of art only have themselves to thank for what they've accomplished.
You can replace any art dealer, employer, lover, singer, musician, publisher, fan and collector in the lives of Picasso, Bacon, Lennon, Spector and Hemingway, and you would still end up with outstanding works that would change the world forever.
Because of the efforts and talents of one single person.
And that person will always be bad in one sense or another because of his main characteristic -- a need to change everything around him. For better or for worse.
Scott Cruickshank Monday, October 29, 2012
Wait a sec, Kanye compared to Hemingway, Picasso and Miles Davis??!! Reality check, his peer group is more like Young MC and The Fat Boys.
lifer Monday, October 29, 2012
I became an admirer of Kanye's work in spite of his rep.
He is certainly important culturally and artistically though many readers on this site feel that sales figures are the only relevant barometer.
The song that Gil scott heron sampled is brilliant and made me did into his work.
The person mentioning Fat Boys would prolly go postal of I mentioned The Who or Zep in the same breath as The Archies. Never heard of them--ask Evan Bogart. Never heard of him?
Jesus_Christo Monday, October 29, 2012
Why is Kanye an asshole? Well I'm sure it has a lot to do with how the press has handled him throughout his career. If you want to have a successful product as an artist, you better believe in exactly what you're pushing and I have no problem with him coming off as arrogant for this. Look at Led Zeppelin. All of ther early records were absolutely murdered by the press, and Jimmy Page was sure as hell seen as "an asshole" during the time; but, they believed in what they were doing and did not compromise for the critics, and were able to yield massive success. Kanye is an asshole about his work because he has to be in order for it to get its due. Call it insecure, but if you won't stand up for yourself, who will stand up for you?
Angry Black Woman Monday, October 29, 2012
As in that Nigga "Spade"? Sooo Racist! Well, I suppose a Black Man in America has a lot to be angry about, nothing is given to them. As well, most Blacks do not employ the character of "Brown Noser" to acquire Success, as the Anglo- Americans do. That could shake a belief system, and cause resentment!
Many psychology studies report that children of all races and genders who grow up without fathers in the home are angry..and don't know why! How about the Anglo-American popular demeanor of the "Morose or Gothic" Look! Not exactly Sweet! West is a Morose Black Kid, but it's no longer cute when a boy becomes a man. Maybe it's the Satanic-Illuminati Factor that makes him "Bes' in a Trap"! (He needs the "God" Factor) That's enough to be angry about! It seems to be a popular genre for todays youth.
Perhaps Kardassian will put a smile on his face. It seems to be working so far, but that depends on what he dressed up as for Holloween! (Ike Turner?)
And That's an Educated Guess!
The Voice of Reason Tuesday, October 30, 2012
"As in that Nigga "Spade"? Sooo Racist! Well, I suppose a Black Man in America has a lot to be angry about, nothing is given to them. As well, most Blacks do not employ the character of "Brown Noser" to acquire Success, as the Anglo- Americans do."
Well, that opening qualifies you as a certified moron.
@pumpsessions Monday, October 29, 2012
Digital Music News get the Headline of the Week award.
Voice of Reason Tuesday, October 30, 2012
Here's the deal...Kanye is not a genius and his "music" is absolute rubbish...It's not music. I don't know what the fuck it is, but it sure isn't music. And he's an uber-asshole to boot. People will buy into anything I guess if they're told what is good and what is not by the media and record labels,,,
Oz Tuesday, October 30, 2012
no he's not a genius, but certainly talented - to what extent is up for debate.
regardless, in the absence of creators of exceptional competence and genuinely well-rounded/all-round ability, the great mass of idiots (ie. most people) desperatley cling on to whatever's out there believing it to be whatever they want it to be, without having much of clue about anything really...
Lifer Wednesday, October 31, 2012
Just as a point of reference it would be rad if you would share the names of what you consider to be music.